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Home » Grad school » Traveling nightmares, or why is United Airlines against me? – Part 5

Traveling nightmares, or why is United Airlines against me? – Part 5

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.


September 2010
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Y’all, here’s the last installment of my United Airlines saga while coming back to Canada after my wonderful Spanish vacation. This concludes my rant on how much united airlines sucks … but it may not be the last. Because they suck. And I fall over and over again in their trap (for now I don’t have anything planned, but just in case).

For your entertainment:

I barely make it to my connecting flight to DTW with  a mere second to spare. At this time I’m 100% sure my bag didn’t make it. And I am in the same state of mind as on that Christmas morning 2 and 4 years ago. But I am also hungry. I decide to take UA’s offer of a complementary can of pop and that injects some much needed sugar into my bloodstream. When I make it to DTW it is after 10pm and I head down to baggage claim, crossing my fingers that my bag, by some miracle, has made it. But it didn’t. And now I have to head to the UA baggage claim office and file a form to try to get my bag delivered to Canada (which I’m not sure how that’s going to happen seeing as .. you know, there’s a border and stuff and UA, in my book, has a terrible communication record within their company and others). I meet this very serious blond woman, who files the paperwork and tells me that maybe my bag will make it tonight. This is the first glimpse of concrete hope I get on this hellish day. She scans the sticker that contains my bag’s info and sees that at least it made it to Chicago, but there’s no telling when or if it will come tonight. I lucked out in that there was one last flight getting to DTW via Chicago and my luggage made it.

I ended up spending well over 12 hours at different US airports due to UA’s lack of communication and care for its customers. I cannot believe that a trip that would normally take less than 8 hours turned into this tale of delays and excuses. I am still in shock at how stupid I was be to try and give UA a chance to make amends.

The height of my trip was when my luggage made it to DTW. I finally got to Canada the next morning, when I was supposed to head back to work (but of course couldn’t because I had not had an ounce of sleep). The whole experience, or shall I call it ordeal, has now left its print. And I’ve sworn I’ll never get on a UA flight, or plane, or even purchase a ticket with US Airways (which has a better track record) if it has me checking in at the UA desk. It ain’t happening.  I’ll try my best and fight tooth and nail against falling in that trap. I firmly believe that we all have this one company (in my case, airline), product or business that drives us nuts. For some it’s AA, for me it’s United Airlines. The only two people I found worth my time were the lady that checked me in my home airport and the serious lady at DTW. Other than that I could have had a better flying experience elsewhere. I’ve lived and learned, and I hope to never again fly with United Airlines. I’m also not recommending it to my family, friends and especially colleagues. For sure they would not make it to their scientific meetings and conferences.


1 Comment

  1. […] September – Went to the 35th Toronto International Film Festival. IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!111111eleven11111!!!!!  Did a bit of shopping, a bit of dining and had a great time in this lovely city (the big TO is like NY, but cleaner and without the insane amount of people). Started to seriously question if I really want to stay in academia, and whether I could overcome my frustrations with how things are going in the lab, research-wise and mentoring-wise. Also, completed my series on “Nightmares while traveling with United Airlines.” […]

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